26 Nov 2011

New Zealanders head to polls for general elections

5:39 am on 26 November 2011

The election of New Zealand's 50th Parliament starts this morning at 9 o'clock with the opening of more than 2,600 polling places.

There are over three million voters registered, representing 93.2 percent of those eligible to vote.

Anyone enrolled by midnight last night can vote today.

Polling booths are open until seven o'clock tonight with the busiest times times traditionally being the two hours after polling stations open.

The Chief Electoral Officer, Robert Peden, says it is crucial people cast a ballot as they will be voting for a government, and also in a referendum on what voting system should be used in the future.

People working today, who don't get a reasonable opportunity to vote before starting work, must be allowed to leave no later than three o'clock to vote with that time paid for.